Co-Living and Student Housing Collide, as People Struggle to Afford Rent in Expensive Urban Markets

More developers are designing communal apartment projects that serve both demographics.

Co-living, one of the hottest trends in apartment investment, has a lot in common with student housing.

“Co-living is actually student housing for grown-ups,” says J.J. Smith, president of Chicago-based CA Student Living, one of the largest developers of student housing in the country. The company operates several properties in which the residents are almost evenly split between college student and young professionals.

Co-living is a growing trend in the most expensive U.S. housing markets, where tenants in a single apartment share common areas such as the kitchen. The model is similar to student housing, where students also share suites of bedrooms with shared kitchens. It shouldn’t be surprising that some of the largest co-living developments are filling up with students, especially with graduate students, who have a lot in common with the young professionals who tend to live in co-living properties.

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